Thursday, 30 January 2014

Pork and Apple Sausage Rolls

I had intended to make these sausage rolls for Arthur's Nan's 90th birthday party last week, it was going to be my first try at puff pastry and I was very excited about it.  However, sometimes things just don't go to plan and two baking disasters last week (saffron buns that didn't rise at all, and brown sugar shortbread that ran off the tray in the oven) combined with tiredness that I suppose is to be expected at this point in pregnancy, meant I just didn't feel up to making them (or the honey rose cupcakes I had planned).

I ended up buying both cakes and sausage rolls to take along, very disappointing to me, but thanks to a little time taken in arrangement and the addition of a pot of amazing chutney (Pear and Ginger made by Heather's Harvest) they seemed to go down pretty well.

With my pork not getting any younger and my inclination to try puff pastry not yet recovered I bought a pack of ready made just to get these made up.  I am very pleased with the filling, so I will have a go at making these again with my own pastry, will see how that goes!

In the meantime, here is the recipe for my pork and apple sausage roll filling, use it with whatever pastry you like!

* 2 medium cooking apples
* 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
* 1/4 tsp ground ginger
* 1tbsp dark brown soft sugar
* 500g minced pork
* 1/2 tsp salt
* 1tsp fresh ground black pepper

Core, peel and chop apples and stew with a little water, nutmeg, ginger and sugar until soft and mushy.

Allow to cool then mix into pork along with salt and pepper.

Use in whatever pastry required.

I used a 500g pack of ready to roll puff pastry, cut the square in half and rolled each half out to a rectangle around 15cm by 60cm.  Placed mix along the middle (longways) then wrapped edges over.  I cut each roll into 6 pieces, slashed the tops and brushed with milk before baking at Gas mark 6 for 25 mins.

Pork and Apple Sausage Rolls

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Wool nappy covers

I have finally completed the last stage of our homemade real nappy system - wool nappy covers.

Two woollen nappy covers one blue one yellow

I decided to try wool for several reasons:

  1. It is more breathable than synthetic alternatives
  2. I could make them myself, without buying expensive PUL fabric
  3. Who wants to wear plastic pants?!
The biggest incentive for me to try wool covers is my own hatred of waterproof clothing.  I mean I really hate it, I would rather be wet.  I have tried any number of waterproof coats over the years, including incredibly expensive 'soft' and 'breathable' fabrics and all of them have been sweaty and uncomfortable.  I do not like them, and the thought of my baby experiencing that discomfort on such a sensitive area was not a pleasant one.

It may be an unnecessary concern, I know that huge numbers of people are using synthetic waterproof covers, both as outer wraps and as part of all in one nappies.  In fact I have recently been given a number of Tots Bots all in one nappies by a friend whose son has outgrown them and they do feel soft and comfortable, and I certainly will be giving them a try, but I wanted to have an alternative.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Honey Chocolate Madeleines

My first bake off my list from my recipe book post.

I recently treated myself to a mini madeleine mould from Lakeland, so when looking for a recipe to make for this months we should cocoa, honey chocolate madeleines won hands down.

Lakeland mini madeleine mould
My new silicone mould
We should cocoa is a monthly chocolate challenge from Chocolate Log Blog and a guest host, this month Lancashire food.  Each month has a theme and January's is 'New Ingredient', the idea being to use an ingredient you have not previously combined with chocolate.

As much as I love honey and chocolate, I've never put the two together before, so this seemed like the perfect opportunity!

The recipe is taken from a fair trade chocolate recipe book: Divine - Heavenly Chocolate Recipes with a heart, by Linda Collister.

I've never made madeleine's before, so I wasn't quite sure how it would go, or to be honest entirely sure what they should be like!

Monday, 13 January 2014

Recipe books - practical or pretty?

With all the clearing out we have done in the house of late to make room for a nursery, I have recently been looking at my ever expanding collection of recipe books (mostly cakes and baking) and wondering if they are really worth the space they are taking up.  They are very pretty to look through (or just look at sometimes) but there are quite a few that I have not baked a single thing from.

A selection of my baking books - some as yet unused
This is a huge step for me to even question, as 
a) I like to keep things 'just in case' and 
b) They are books! (I love books and getting rid of them does not compute)

I certainly haven't been at the point of ditching them, but I have been wondering do I really use them enough?  Do I need more than 20 books with cake recipes?

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Banana scones

I like scones.  They manage to be a comfort food and a luxury one at the same time.  Nothing is better than a warm scone with butter, or cream if you can get it!

I also like bananas, but am rather picky about the point at which they should be eaten.  Slightly too green or hard and I feel a bit sick, too brown and they just don't taste nice.  This often leaves a very short banana eating window, which I occasionally miss leaving the fruit bowl with increasingly black bananas.

Every cloud has a silver lining though as black bananas make beautiful banana bread, which we very much enjoy in our house, but it is always nice to have options.  So when I saw this recipe for banana scones I was excited to give it a go.

I found this recipe for banana bread scones with brown sugar glaze on Lavender and Lovage blog but it has travelled a little further than that!  Kate from Lavender and Lovage found the recipe as part of The Secret Recipe Club on the blog Baking and Creating with Avril, where Avril had seen it on the blog cinnamon spice and everything nice where it is sourced from thekitchn.  Phew!

So earlier this week when I was going to have lunch with my mum, sister and niece and noticed a number of past eating bananas in the bowl I gave these delicious sounding scones a go.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Budget homemade nappies

So after making my first cloth nappy I have been collecting towel and fleece and have finally got around to finishing a batch of nappies and wipes.  I did decide to hem the pieces before stitching together as mentioned in the last post, I also used slightly narrower elastic this time round and I'm much happier with how they sit.

There is a total of 18 nappies and 32 wipes, so I'm sure I will need more but it's a good start.  I'm really pleased with how they've turned out, and incredibly pleased with the cost - or lack of.

Monday, 6 January 2014

A snickerdoodle variation

I have had a bit of a hankering to bake snickerdoodles recently, not sure why, I just haven't made any in a long time and thought it would be nice.  I didn't get much baking done over the Christmas period, given our impending arrival Arthur and I mainly spent the holidays sorting out baby things and banking sleep, so the only baking I really did was the Christmas pudding.  I didn't even manage any mince pies!

So yesterday I made snickerdoodles.  If you don't know what snickerdoodles are, they are a doughnutty tasting, cakey sort of biscuit.  Confused?  Give them a bake and you'll understand.  The recipe I use is from Nigella Lawson's 'How to be a domestic Goddess' one of my favourite baking books.

While mixing up the original batch, I had a burst of inspiration.  I was thinking about making a second batch of 'chocodoodles' (where you replace some of the flour with cocoa), but I've never been a huge fan of them, I like the originals better, then I had a thought.

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